WHITTIER – Whittier High School probably won’t be playing in next week’s CIF-Southern Section boys soccer playoffs. But the Cardinals weren’t exactly complaining Wednesday afternoon. Whittier, using a commitment to defense, instead was all smiles after scoring a 1-0 victory over host California in a Del Rio League game. The Cardinals, who scored the only goal on a header by Pablo Duarte, finished 7-8-2 overall and tied La Serna for fourth place, both with 4-4-2 league marks. California (11-8-1, 5-5), despite the loss, is the league’s No. 3 playoff representative by virtue of its five league wins. Whittier and La Serna, which tied Santa Fe on Wednesday, can receive at-large bids. “I’m very proud of my kids. They are very happy to beat Cal High,” said Whittier co-head coach Sal Mendoza, whose team swept the Condors in the season series. “This game was not big just because we had a shot at CIF, but we wanted to end the season with a win and beat a team like Cal High.” The Cardinals did it with defense. They held California to eight shots and constantly frustrated the Condors by controlling the middle of the field. “It was a hard day,” California coach Dave Rolfe said. “They shut the door on us. Once they got that goal (in the second half), they just packed it in.” The score in question came early in the second half. Mario Equer started the run by sending in a deep pass down the right sideline to Heder Guillen. The senior forward then dribbled in before launching a crossing pass to Duarte, who was in perfect position to head the ball to the left of goalie Johann Harich in the 42nd minute. Cal’s best chance came in the 66th minute on a throw-in by Michael Paz. The ball first bounced off goalie Gustavo Anaya, but Freddy Limon’s rebound shot was wide. “I did drop everybody back,” Mendoza said. “But I shifted over to Paz because I knew he could decide the game.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3061 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!